Canadian Anglicans are supporting the work of our military chaplains by video-recording themselves singing the popular Christmas carol, Silent Night.
As of Dec. 14, 2010, nearly 500 submissions had been received at the Anglican Church of Canada’s national office in Toronto, according to Brian Bukowski, web manager. The videos came from as far away as the peaceful fishing and trapping community of Aklavik, NWT, and war-torn Kandahar in Afghanistan.
“It’s exciting, it’s great,” says Lisa Barry, producer for Anglican Video. Barry edited the submissions and compiled them into a single video. On Christmas Eve day, the compilation video was posted to YouTube for the world to see. The recordings offer Silent Night in French, English, Japanese, Munsee, Inuktitut and Cree.
The project was launched last June at General Synod 2010 in Halifax. At that time, Canadian Anglicans were asked to record themselves singing Silent Night and to contribute a toonie each.
Funds raised through the project will be used to support the work of the Anglican Military Ordinariate, which ministers to the needs of women and men of the Canadian Forces and their families. There are more than 85 Anglican military chaplains, both clerical and lay, working around the world.
The project has been enthusiastically received because “the idea is simple and people can achieve it,” says Barry. “They also like the cause…. A lot of people have expressed that.”
Watching each and every video has given him a glimpse into the diversity of Anglicanism in Canada, says Bukowski. While he has enjoyed watching well-produced videos of church choirs, he confesses he has been equally moved by those sent in by churches, where “there’s just a small group of people” singing with heart.
Videos from tiny, remote northern communities where Anglicans sang Silent Night in native languages “pulled my heartstrings,” admits Anglican Video’s Barry. “It’s so difficult, sometimes, in the north, to feel connected and I’m so excited that they felt moved to do it [sing] as well.”
The Silent Night Project was modelled after the 2008 Amazing Grace Project, in which thousands of Anglicans across Canada recorded themselves singing Amazing Grace, raising about $100,000 for suicide prevention projects in northern Canada.
While the final tally for the Silent Night Project was not available at press time, the videos have now been viewed by so many people that it has given Barry a much bigger vision for the future. “I would love to see the whole Communion take part in something like this,” she told the Anglican Journal. “It’s my dream right now. I don’t know how it will happen, but I think it will be tremendously exciting.” Ω